Great news! I was featured in this week's HuffPost Food Informants Series! Read about a week in the life of a freegan! 

The editor did use a bit of editorial license with my diary, which I'm fine with. And they've tried to represent my motivations in the introductory bio, but there is much more that could not be included in its entirety for sake of brevity. So I do hope you'll read below the full bio that I sent the editor. It paints a more complete picture of how and why I came to busking and freeganism in NYC...

I'm a writer, artist, musician - this is my existential calling, what I was born to do, so to speak. As a Christian, I believe God has given me the special ability, skill, passion to do this and it would be downright disobedient for me not to do it! 

Unfortunately in this society (in every society?) artists don't get paid much. It's our job to show others how sick, twisted, and depraved society has become - we have a special eye for this - and also to offer better alternatives, to show the way things could be. The problem is that the people who have power and money are precisely the ones who do not want anything to change! So you may call me a conspiracy theorist if you wish, but I doubt it's a coincidence that artists like myself have a difficult time surviving in a society such as ours, despite the great amount of labor, thought, and love that we put into our craft. As a society, we are conditioned to believe that artists are just fantastical idealists, unrealistic weirdos; and that our work, our art, is worthless on a pragmatic level - why would anyone financially support that which they perceive as worthless? Indeed, why would governments support art programs in schools over worthwhile and pragmatic pursuits like math and science?

Since I refused to compromise my calling and my time (by, say, getting a crappy part-time job), I had to find alternative ways of living. I became freegan. 

I believe I'd always been a freegan in ideology, at least since high school, but I sought a community of people with whom I could practice this alternative lifestyle. I was involved with the radical freegan group Food Not Bombs in Orlando, where I first dumpster dove and began to see the waste in our economy and its backwards priorities - profits over people. Indeed, OFNB has been in a long-standing legal battle against the city of Orlando which illegalized the sharing of food and feeding homeless people in a public park, hoping to quell the fears of classist and xenophobic business owners and upscale residents in this heart-of-downtown neighborhoodI recently wrote a song about the situation as 30 of my friends have been arrested in June and July for doing nothing more than feeding the homeless. Here's the link for that poem: http://gandollo.weebly.com/1/post/2011/07/lightweight.html

After a few months of living in NYC and seeking part time work, I decided to pursue my music and art wholeheartedly. I would have to take freeganism much more seriously! So I attended a freegan.infomeeting in December 2009 and I've since grown in sympathy with the Freegan cause, especially its concern for the abuses inherent in current economic systems: waste of resources, exploitation of people, degradation of the environment, calloused treatment of animals, commodification of time, labor, even war (thus human life in wholesale). Of course I write songs about these issues, among many others; I also write blogs.

The one I most prioritize currently is my personal blog and portfolio at gandollo.weebly.com. In it, I document almost everything that I'm doing in my life - past and current projects, GioSafari (my solo music project), new poetry, videos, updates, powerful quotes, and more. Another blog is atfreenyc.weebly.com, which is all about how to live on a shoestring in an expensive city like New York. I talk about dumpster diving, busking, living hand-to-mouth, the financial struggles that I face on the day-to-day; but also about the joys I find in experiencing nature, determining my own schedule (including waking up at 6am), bartering and volunteering, and freedom from running the hamster wheel of capitalism. 

I have a third blog about washing dishes (dishesdance.weebly.com) called Dance Party At the Kitchen Sink. The name comes from two popular quotes regarding revolution: 1) Everyone wants a revolution but nobody wants to do the dishes; 2) A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having! I hope to plant a church in Chicago some time in the future. That is my kitchen sink - I want to build a community that is passionate about justice, that is willing to get its hands dirty and wash the dirty dishes of our society - violence, racism, homophobia, sexism, socioeconomic inequality and injustice - but is also going to do so with a hop, skip, and dance in its step! Activists tend to take their work very seriously, to the point that their work becomes very serious. We must always remember that we are not only fighting violence and injustice (fighting - such a violent word!), we are also constructively working towards a world of peace, joy, compassion, equality, and sustainability. That's why I'm perpetually hosting a dance party at the kitchen sink!
 


Comments

Charlotte Sylvia
07/28/2011 21:12

If you want a song about the Earth and the environment, go to Youtube and type in Earth Day A Single Tear. Play the song with the photo of 4 garbage cans. If innterested, contact me at the email address I provided when leaving this comment.

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07/28/2011 23:51

Been there and done that am older than you was called impoverished college student.(back in the day) Beware what you are doing lowers your metabolism base.. very difficult to maintain weight later on in life when success finds your door. Good Luck in your endeavors

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